Seven Latino organizations ware asking the Orange County Grand Jury to investigate top Santa Ana officials including Mayor Miguel Pulido, the city police chief and the city attorney.
â€œThe organizations are ready to help the City solve its many issues, but are concerned about a pattern and practice of abusing the public trust and money,â€ said Francisco BarragÃ¡n, Commander of the United Mexican-American Veterans Association.
â€œResident complaints have little impact. We need an outside agency to investigate and protect the taxpayers and voters of Santa Ana before we see another Bell,â€ added Amin David, founding member of Los Amigos of Orange County.
The groups filing the complaint Wednesday include Los Amigos of Orange County, the stateâ€™s League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), The Santa Ana Chapter of LULAC, United Mexican-American Veterans Association, The Rudy Escalante Chapter of the American GI Forum of the United States, MANA de Orange County, and the Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government.
BarragÃ¡n and others have spoken at Santa Ana City Council meetings to no avail.
The groups have asked the Grand Jury to investigate the following:
- A severance package totaling $337,779 to City Attorney Joseph Fletcher including $142,000 of severance and other benefits. Fletcherâ€™s start date was backdated 13 years increasing his unused vacation and sick days to $191,699. Severance should be provided upon termination. Fletcher appears to have resigned.
- City Police Chief Paul Walters used his police affiliation and rank in a robo-call the day before municipal elections to support Mayor Miguel Pulido in which he made false statements. In the call made during work hours, the chief made it sound as if he had conducted an official investigation that never occurred. The call, possibly made under duress while police contracts were pending, appears to be a violation of ethics, professional standards and state law.
- Mayor Miguel Pulido was set to receive a $500,000 finderâ€™s fee after using his clout as mayor to link developers, who have already paid him consulting fees, to the sale of state-owned property. Bringing buyers to the table to purchase property requires a real estate brokerâ€™s or agentâ€™s license. Using the mayorâ€™s office for personal gain violates the cityâ€™s code of ethics ordinance.
- City council members voted on a housing project even though five of even received donations from the developers. Three abstained but two who took money voted on the project anyway. The unethical behavior is just one numerous ways in which developers are controlling votes in Santa Ana with the help of its leadership.